How does this master of dry wit create? He imagines a boy, very much like he was, and tries to write a story that would please him. Like many excellent writers for kids and young adults, he has a terrific recall of what it feels like to be a bright, out-of-sync, yet amazingly well-adjusted, kid in a not totally indifferent world.
Daniel Manus Pinkwater was a well-traveled soul by his teens. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, moved to Chicago, then on to Los Angeles at age eight and back to Chicago again as a teenager. Not being a particularly tanned or svelte person, he found Chicago to be a much more friendly residence, although Los Angeles was where he first discovered art supplies. In high school, his friends were like the "Snarkout Boys" from his books-- not socially gifted in the mainstream, but together they formed a clever, friendly group of creative goofballs and truth-seekers.
Lists of the worst literature ever written tend toward the eclectic and diverse. Alongside such standards as James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and L. Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth, people have been known to list authors as diverse as Stephanie Meyer, Dan Brown, Christopher Paolini, and even (on one list) Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. Compiling a worst-of literature list is highly subjective and dependent on individual tastes, but there seems to be one thing the literary world agrees on—the horrible high-fantasy novelette The Eye of Argon belongs at the top of the list.
Whether you call them graphic novels or comic books, adventure stories told with a lot of pictures are a fun way to laze away a hot summer afternoon. You can journey on the high seas with Greek heroes, go on the hunt for Bigfoot, outwit forty thieves, or find your own way in a Twisted Journey with these colorful tales. The CRRL has many from which to choose, but this sampling is a good place to begin:
This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. See our other Book Matches.
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
In Aagaesia, a fifteen-year-old boy of unknown lineage called Eragon finds a mysterious stone that weaves his life into an intricate tapestry of destiny, magic, and power, peopled with dragons, elves, and monsters. (catalog summary)
If you are a teen, and enjoyed Eragon here are a few other titles to look into:
Dragon Rider by Cornelia C. Funke
After learning that humans are headed toward his hidden home, Firedrake, a silver dragon, is joined by a brownie and an orphan boy in a quest to find the legendary valley known as the Rim of Heaven, encountering friendly and unfriendly creatures along the way, and struggling to evade the relentless pursuit of an old enemy. (catalog summary)
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
Sixteen-year-old Eon hopes to become an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune and learn to be its main interpreter, but to do so will require much, including keeping secret that she is a girl. (catalog summary)
She's been compared to Hans Christian Andersen and that clever fable maker Aesop. For children (and adults!) in today's world, her carefully crafted stories sing with a timeless rhythm and an honest truth. Her family's Russian-Jewish roots have given her the jumping-off place for many a tale (And Twelve Chinese Acrobats, Firebird, and Baba Yaga), but some stories seem to drawn from the heart of the world itself.
Jane Yolen, born in New York City on February 11, 1939, showed a talent for writing early on when she wrote and composed the words and music to her grade school pageant, starring as the lead carrot. She seems to have never slowed down during her years in high school: news editor of the school paper, Spanish club vice president, singing with the a capella choir, and captain of the varsity basketball team. Summers spent at a Vermont camp run by Quakers influenced her deeply. Several of her later books (The Gift of Sarah Barker and Friend: The Story of George Fox and the Quakers) relate to this period of spiritual growth.
The Lightning Thief, Graceling, The Hunger Games... these hot titles are jumping off the shelves in our teen section, but they also have a long wait list. What to read while you wait? At a recent Lit Bistro meeting, we discussed these hot books and what you might enjoy if you have to wait to get your hands on a copy.
In the Kingdom of Dalemark, three kings have died without an heir. The kingdom has been in chaos for generations as earl after earl vies for the throne. Bloody battles have only produced a stalemate, and now the free North and the repressive South tensely await their next war.
Sword Song by Rosemary Sutcliff
"Just go! A man with a sword need never lack the means of life--or death. If after five years you still live and you shall be free to return and take your place in the settlement again, it may be that I shall be able to stand the sight of you."
With these harsh words from his chief, Bjarni Sigurdson, a young Viking swordsman, is banished from his home.
The Magic Circle by Donna Jo Napoli
"Don't you love it, Mother? We can shut our eyes and pretend we live in a candy house. All candy. Everywhere."
The Ugly One remembered how her child loved sweets. Asa was beautiful, and her mother tried to give her all the beauty she could though they were poor.
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
No one really liked Duny. The boy was wild, proud, and full of temper-- well-suited to the company of the goats he herded. Then came the day when he overheard his aunt chanting a spell to call her goat down from the roof of her house. He remembered the rhyme and later spoke it to his own herd:
"Noth hierth malk man hiolk han merth han!"